GUWAHATI: The October 30 bye-poll in the state will have a stricter Covid-19 protocol than the three-phase general election held in March-April this year.
The five Legislative Assembly Constituencies (LACs) going for bye-poll in the state are Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani and Thowra.
The Election Commission of India has not allowed roadshows and bike/motor/cycle rallies during the poll campaign. The EC did allow such processions in the last Assembly election in the state.
In this bye-poll, the silence period is 72 hours (when there is no poll campaign) before the end of the poll against 48 hours in the last general election.
Addressing the media here today, State Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade said, "The last general election in the state was free, fair and safe. Our thrust is on free, fair and safe bye-poll.
"Since the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over, the public health is of utmost importance. The Election Commission of India has tightened the Covid-19 protocol in this bye-poll.
"We request all political parties, candidates and people to adhere to the Covid-19 protocol during the bye-poll.
"If any candidate violates the guidelines of the Election Commission of India, the permission for poll campaign given to him will get withdrawn. If a star poll campaigner violates the EC guidelines, the poll panel will bar him from campaigning further.
"Since the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over, we will send postal ballots to all 80+, PwDs (Persons with Disabilities) and Covid-infected voters.
"All voters and poll staff will have to wear a mask and maintain social distancing during the poll. If any voter comes to the polling station without wearing a mask, the officials on poll duty will have to provide him with a mask. The authorities will have to keep sanitizing facilities in front of all polling stations. The people on poll duty will ensure thermal scanning of every voter."
The other guidelines are –
(i) No pre-and-post-nomination procession allowed.
(ii) The poll panel allows indoor meetings with only 30% of capacity or 200 persons, whichever is less.
(iii) The Commission allows outdoor meetings with 50% of capacity or 1,000 in the case of star campaigners. It is 50 per cent of seat capacity or 500 in all other cases.
(iv) The guidelines allow 50 persons for street-corner meetings (subject to availability of space).
(v) The guidelines allow only five persons or less for the door-to-door campaign.
(vi) All polling personnel and election officials, including the private persons engaged in the election duty, should have taken both Covid-19 vaccine doses before taking their services.
The last date for filing nominations for the bye poll is October 8.